Ever had one of those days? We did today.
I was woken by Lucas, asking me to go into the bathroom. As I staggered in there, groggy from just a few hours of sleep, I was greeted by the sight of Sarah, knickers around her knees, with a pool of blood at her feet. Spatters of claret radiated out from the scene of the impact.
Finally, after what had seemed like a fucking eternity, Sarah’s miscarriage was proclaiming its arrival.
Sobered by this visceral sight, I steeled myself for the task at hand and began to clear up the mess, as Sarah shuffled around the bathroom, leaving a trail of clotted blood and chunks of discharged placenta behind her. I’ve never liked Sunday mornings, but this one was turning into a real bitch.
Things started to go downhill from here. The low point came when Sarah had to get off the toilet and lie on the floor in a pool of her own blood, because she thought she was about to faint. Blood always looks worse than it is — a little goes a long way — but there really was a lot of blood on the floor, dripping down the toilet, all over Sarah’s rear end, etc. I had managed to despatch the children downstairs, but it wasn’t going to provide a lasting solution to a situation that appeared to be deteriorating.
The sight of my missus lying naked in a pool of her own blood, possibly about to lose consciousness and bleeding rather heavily from her genitals, started to give me the jitters. I went to fetch the phone and told Sarah it was time to call 112.
She protested, as you can imagine. She felt that she’d already jettisoned much of the placenta and probably had only a few chunks left to go. One such chunk, a rather large, gruesome sliver like a piece of wet, red liver, was protruding from her vagina. At least, we assumed it was a piece of placenta and not some essential part of her own body, such as her uterus. One piece of glistening, wet gore looks much the same as another to a layman.
The mess was now too much for her to be anywhere but in the bath, so she climbed back in and we took stock of the situation. At what point do you overrule the person you’re attending and decide that it’s better to suffer the barrage of insults that will inevitably ensue if you call them an ambulance, than it is to sit there, obey their instructions and possibly watch them die. As dramatic as that may sound, that’s the question that started to careen around my mind as I beheld the scene before me.
Someone had to be called. I couldn’t have the children complicating a situation that was already threatening to get out of hand. I called a couple of Sarah’s friends and they quickly scrambled to rush to our aid.
I have to say, I don’t know how long we sat there, Sarah bleeding and pleading, me watching the situation slowly slipping out of my control. It was incredibly unpleasant, more so for Sarah, of course, but I was afraid she was going to pass out at any moment, at which point our problem would become my sole responsibility, the gravity of which I was afraid might then cause me to behave erratically and lose precious time.
Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. At some point, the large chunk of placenta that had presumably been lodged in her cervix popped out like a champagne cork and the flow of blood started to subside. Together with our friends, I cleared up the mess and then Sarah went back to bed, clad in waterproof padding. I stayed by her side, of course, to make sure she was OK.
After some period of time, we got up, went downstairs and had some food with our friends.
Afterwards, they went home and Sarah went back to bed with Lucas for a well-deserved nap. Eloïse decamped to a friend’s house to play.
We’ve spent many weeks waiting for this moment, so that we can finally put this failed pregnancy behind us. Most other women choose an abortion in this situation, but Sarah was keen to let nature take its course. I fully supported her decision, but it’s frustrating when you don’t know how long you’re going to have to wait. It could be five days, five weeks or even five months, and when it comes, you have no idea how bad it’s going to be.
There was much more blood than either of us expected, but other than that, it wasn’t too bad in hindsight. She’s had some twinges and cramps this evening from the blood loss, but plenty of rest should fix that. All the same, it’s a great relief that to have the miscarriage behind us.
Sarah, being Sarah, even managed to fish the embryo out of the viscera. I didn’t want to look at first, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me and I had a peek at what might have been. Eloïse, too, wanted to look, but cried when she saw what was to have been her baby brother or sister. For me, that was the most moving moment of the whole experience.
As I looked at the tiny embryo on a piece of tissue paper, it was hard not to wonder what kind of person it might have become. I wondered what had gone wrong during its development and felt sad. For the first time since learning of its death, I felt sentimental about it.
But life goes on. And life, even today, allowed no pause for reflection. This afternoon was Eloïse’s long overdue birthday party, to be held in a craft studio a short bike ride away from here.
Sarah was in no fit state to bike, so she went in a friend’s car. I biked over there. We couldn’t use our own car, because it had mysteriously died. (Why does shit always happen at once?)
We spent a very relaxing afternoon in the company of Eloïse’s many friends, watching as they created a magic ball under the tuition of a nice craft teacher. I had been a little concerned that a children’s party might be too demanding for Sarah, but it was actually very relaxing to sit there and watch the children at work. There was no misbehaving and they all did a really good job on their ball, concentrating and having fun. We paused for cake and drinks halfway through and then resumed work on the ball until it was completed.
It’s been a long (and) bloody day. I’m proud of Sarah that she handled it on her own terms, treating a miscarriage with the same respect for nature as she would a birth.
Another of life’s little boxes was ticked today. I don’t need to experience another of these in my lifetime.
Within a few days, Sarah should be back to full strength. She’s a tough bird, my missus.